Health Officials Say Long Beach’s Open Waters Could Re-Open By Tuesday After Last Week’s Sewage Spill

The level of bacteria tested in Long Beach’s open waters is improving, but still not safe enough for swimmers, after 250,000 gallons of sewage spilled 33 miles upstream from the city last week, health officials said Monday.

The spill happened on Tuesday, September 15, at about 7:00AM in the City of San Gabriel, after heavy rain spilled over the city’s storm system, damaging and overflowing a nearby sewer that was exposed as part of the Alameda Corridor-East rail project.

Project workers were able to stop the spillage hours later, diverting the flow to a smaller, nearby sewer, according to Los Angeles County Sanitation District spokesman Steven Highter.

Since the spill, Long Beach health officials have been testing the bacteria levels in the city’s ocean water everyday, Dr. Mitchell Kushner, the city’s health officer, said.

Saturday’s testing samples showed improvement but were still a little too high to open, Kushner said.

Depending on the results from samples collected on Sunday and Monday morning, the city may open the beaches as early as Tuesday, according to health officials.

Kushner advises those who may have accidentally come into contact with beach water to wash thoroughly and to observe any intestinal complaints or problems if water was swallowed.

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.